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Today we flew from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and then on to Phnom Penh, the capital and largest city in Cambodia.

Travel TipTravel Tip 41: Look for special flight deals.

For the majority of our trip, we have flown on Star Alliance Round-the-World tickets (purchased with reward miles). However, we did pay for our internal flights in Thailand and Cambodia. Bangkok Airways has a Discovery Pass. It’s basically a discounted fare if you fly a minimum of three regional flights. We also have utilized a similar program on Qantus when traveling in Australia a few years ago.

While we’re on the subject of airlines, you can’t travel on international carriers and not be struck by the fact that American airline companies – United, Delta, American – suck. They really do. Other carriers – Turkish, Thai – have a much higher standard of service. For example, on our 45-minute flight from Koh Samui to Bangkok, we were served drinks, coffee/tea, and a small meal. In the U.S., we’d have been lucky to get a bag of peanuts.

I must have missed this paragraph in the guidebooks… when we arrived at the airport, we changed our Thai Baht to the local currency, Cambodian Riels, like we have done in every other country. Since 4000 riels are equal to $1, we walked away with an alarming large stack of money. After buying smoothies, we realized that the preferred currency everywhere is U.S. greenbacks. Ugh. All these riels, needlessly. To change them back would mean we’d lose money again in the transaction. Lesson learned.

In Phnom Penh, we’re staying at The Kabiki, a very nice boutique hotel, for $75/night with breakfast included (gotta love the rates here!). The boys are excited, because it has a pool. It’s been a whole four days since they last swam!

From Nathan: The Kabiki Hotel is very nice. In our room, we have two beds and a bunk bed. Tonight I am sleeping on the bunk bed, but tomorrow I will sleep in the big bed alone – finally, a bed to myself!

Travel Tip 42: Negotiate an early bird specialTravel Tip

I booked nearly all the lodging and activities for this trip a year in advance. In doing so, I asked for either an early bird discount, a family rate or a guarantee that I would be charged 2012 prices. Normally, I got it. However, make sure to keep all email correspondences with the business as proof. In Bangkok, the hotel overcharged us. I had to pull out my iPad and show the email to the clerk. After a lengthy discussion, I got the discounted rate.